TANEGASHIMA, Kagoshima --- A rocket carrying Japanese and United Arab Emirates earth observation satellites blasted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Monday.
The 40th H-2A rocket was launched at 1:08 p.m. by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The Japanese satellite Ibuki-2, or the Second Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT-2), successfully entered its target orbit.
JAXA is in charge of the development and management of Ibuki-2. Data from it will be analyzed by the Environment Ministry and the National Institute for Environmental Studies.
The satellite’s mission is to make precise measurements of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas concentrations, which is expected to contribute to the fight against global warming under international frameworks including the 2015 Paris climate accord.
With a sensor accuracy about 10 times that of the first Ibuki satellite, launched in 2009, Ibuki-2 is capable of thoroughly monitoring artificial carbon dioxide sources including major cities, as well as observing superfine pollutants including PM2.5, particulate matters 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter.
Meanwhile, the order for the launch of the UAE satellite, KhalifaSat, was received by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in March 2015. The company also has a launch order for a UAE Mars explorer.
The latest H-2A rocket also took into space a small satellite developed jointly by Tohoku University and the Philippines and another one by the Kyushu Institute of Technology, as well as one microsatellite each developed by Shizuoka University and Aichi University of Technology.